This design is a hand-tied bouquet. The best way to make one of these is to start by sorting your flowers and foliages first, and removing any leaves which will be at or below the tying point. This is important, as any leaves caught in the tying point will add bulk to the tying point, which isn't what you want, and any leaves below the tying point will rot when the bouquet is in water. Before starting to construct the bouquet, cut a piece of string (preferably green), around a metre long, and keep it handy! You don't want to be messing with cutting string when you have your hands full with the bouquet! Begin with a strong piece of foliage in the centre. Hold this upright in your left hand. Carry on by adding your flowers and foliage one at a time, using your right hand, and aiming the stem away from you, and the flower towards you, adding each one on the right hand side of the bouquet.


As you add each piece, rotate the bouquet anti-clockwise. Be sure to space the flowers and foliage evenly, so that the textures, shapes and colours are visually balanced (i.e. you don't have mostly big flowers or strong colours only on one side of the bouquet). If you always add your flowers on the right, and always turn the bouquet anti-clockwise, you will always have your stems spiralling the same way, and not crossing. Aim for a slightly domed and circular shape. When you have finished adding all your flowers and foliage, and you have nicely spiralled stems, finish off by adding a collar of strong, flat leaves, such as Fatsia japonica, or Arachniodes adiantiformis (Leather Leaf Fern). This will help to define the circular shape, and add support to the bouquet. The collar should be around 4 or 5 cms wider than the bouquet, so that you only see a bit of it around the outside, Finish the bouquet by taking your string, and tying it around your bouquet, firmly but not so tight that you cut into the flower stems. Finally, cut the stems to equal length, so that the stems are roughly one-third the height of the bouquet (i.e. one-third stems, two-thirds flowers). For this bouquet, I have used Pittosporum tenuifolium foliage, pink Geraldton Waxflower (Chamelaucium uncinatum), white spray Chrysanthemums, Stargazer Lilies, pink mini Gerberas, and Gypsophila 'Million Stars', with some Bear Grass (Xerophyllum tenax) to add some movement. For the collar I have used Fatsia japonica. Remember that practice makes perfect with a hand-tied bouquet, and the first one or two which you make may not be wonderful, but don't give up!

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Words and pictures Chrissie Harten, 2002.